Monrovia, Liberia – Charles Gibson, the labor minister f Liberia, has given the management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation instructions to start raising the wages of the organization’s lowest-paid employees immediately.
The Liberia Electricity Cooperation employees’ proposal for a pay raise, according to him, is not unreasonable.
As part of an ongoing social dialogue between LEC management and employees conducted at the Labour Ministry in Congo Town, Minister Gibson provided the instruction when he presented a preliminary determination.
The minister asked the LEC management to submit a plan for increasing employee numbers to the ministry within a week, while negotiations on a collective bargaining agreement and benefits were postponed until the entity’s financial position improved.
According to Minister Gibson, the ministry believes that, given the corporation’s financial situation, the employees’ demands for the seven benefits listed in the proposed collective bargaining agreement may not be timely.
But, it is not unreasonable that the employees would ask for a raise in pay at this time, though it might not be appropriate given the economic circumstances the LEC had informed the ministry of.
He continued, “We have received from LEC a position presented from an entity that is experiencing a financial downturn but is not necessarily in a financial crisis. We also received from the workers a breakdown of what they would like the management to provide for them in terms of intense incentives and salary.”
The ministry, however, insisted that the LEC submit a scale that divides the complete LEC workforce into three groups within a week.
According to him, the lowest category on the wage scales should receive a pay raise first, followed by the second category in the middle of the scales, and finally the highest category.
According to Counselor Gibson, the intention salary increment for employees in the lower category will begin to take effect on April 1st, 2023, and the others will follow three months later to allow management time to make necessary financial adjustments.
The minister stated that it might not be necessary for the management to implement the increment all at once, but rather in phases.
He encouraged the LEC management to outline in its proposal to the ministry what increment they can afford in all three categories of workers over the period of time, and it must include an increment based on the financial situation of the corporation.
The ministry will examine the LEC salary increment plan after it has been observed, and then decide and how to proceed with salary increases for the different categories of workers and when they should occur.
The social dialogue meeting was attended by Senior Management Team of the LEC and the leadership of the LEC Workers Union and their Mother Union, United Workers Union of Liberia, (UWUL).
Reported by: Augustine Octavius